It has been a rather long time that politicians like the French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, didn’t speak of the formation of an “Independent European Army.” This is doubling the assumptions on the cross-sectional and reactionary nature of this idea by European authorities.
Countries like Germany, France, and Spain supported this idea, and, on the contrary, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands have strongly opposed it. However, the evidences suggest that such this idea has an abstract nature, and it is merely a minimal and periodic reaction by Macron and Merkel against unilateral measures taken by the US President. Meanwhile, Germany and France spent 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense spending under the NATO pact.
Trump called on German and French officials to increase this amount to 2 percent. Britain and four other countries (out of the 29 NATO member states) have so far been willing to devote 2% of their GDP on NATO defense spending, and 24 other countries have not yet responded to this request. This is a sign of a continuous conflict between the United States and other NATO members which will last for a long time, even after Trump’s leaving the White House!
Accordingly, we should pay attention to the thorough opposition of British officials to the idea of forming a “True European Army”, as it was previously raised by Merkel. Speaking about the prospect of a European army, Gevin Williamson, the British Defense Secretary, told the Daily Mail: ‘You can absolutely rest assured that Britain will never become part of a European army on my watch.
‘It is an absolutely crazy idea. NATO has delivered European security for the last 70 years and we should feel very proud of it. Should we undermine that by forming a separate military force? Absolutely not. To begin discussing a new EU army is dangerous and undermines the security that NATO underwrites.’
He added ‘before Europe starts seriously planning its own army it should adequately fund the military that has protected its borders from aggression for 70 years. Two percent of GDP should not be beyond the wit of those who have accumulated great wealth through the protection of NATO, primarily under the leadership of the US and UK.’
London’s opposition to the US policies is not new. But this approach has intensified on the eve of the departure of Britain from the European Union. The British officials are seeking to maintain their security relations with the United States and the EU member states under the NATO after leaving the EU. In such a situation, there are various questions about this recent controversy.
Can the disagreements over the formation of the European Army be considered serious? Are the establishment of the European Army and the disputes around to be analyzed as a symbol of a gap between in trans-Atlantic relations?
Regarding these questions, we should note that many analysts argue about the lack of the real and necessary will among countries such as Germany and France to achieve their security independence from the United States. This has led the Europe to adopt a passive approach towards Washington. This passivity can be well seen in security and economic affairs, and is also evident in different positions taken by European leaders.
For example, shortly before, when the German Foreign Minister spoke of establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle to preserve the nuclear deal with our country, we saw that Merkel, emphasizing the importance of security relations between Berlin and Washington, refused to confirm this solution. This is true for many European leaders.
This is while many European citizens are calling for the abolition of the North Atlantic Treaty and the creation of an independent European army. NATO has created violence and crisis not only in the international system and the rest of the world but also has imposed a lot of financial and structural costs on European citizens. Currently, 26 NATO members are European countries.
Obviously, in the near future, the internal conflicts in Europe will be strengthened over NATO. Conflicts that will initially undermine the foundations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, at a later stage, would provide the ground for the collapse of this structure.
First published in our partner MNA